This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions
by Todd Simpson, Head Editor, INALJ New York City
Rosa Longacre …Registrar/Archivist
Todd: In the interest of full disclosure, we met when we were both Library Assistants, you were working in ILL and I was working Evening & Weekend Circulation at the Geisel Library, UCSD. Since then we’ve both completed our MLIS degrees, and ended up working in completely different roles. I can’t wait to find out what you’re up to now.
Tell us about where you’re working and how you found it?
Rosa: I am currently the Registrar/Archivist at the San Diego Museum of Man. I have been at the Museum of Man since March of 2012. I was originally hired on as a Project Archivist through a CLIR (Council on Library and Information Resources) Grant. At the beginning of 2013 a coworker left and her position opened up at the museum. I was able to transition into her position and become the Registrar/Archivist as a full-time permanent position. I found the original job as the Project Archivist when a friend sent me a job positing on the RCAAM ListServ.
Todd: I hope you thanked that friend profusely! But what does a Registrar/Archivist actually do?
Rosa: In my current position as Registrar/Archivist I am in charge of cataloging all objects, managing our collection management system (PastPerfect), all incoming accession and deaccession paperwork, and all loan paperwork and transportation for exhibits.
Todd: What courses, internships, or previous positions gave you the skill set to thrive in your current job?
Rosa: While I was in Library School I held positions at both public libraries and university libraries. Near the end of my library program I was lucky enough to do an internship at the San Diego History Center where I helped process manuscripts and create finding aids. My experience from that position allowed me to get a job at the Mandeville Special Collections Library as a Manuscript Processor. After I finished my degree I was able to find my first professional position as the Librarian/Archivist at the Barona Cultural Center & Museum. This job was great because I was the solo librarian/archivist. I gained a ton of experience being a solo archivist; including creating budgets, goals, and programming that I was never able to do in the past.
Todd: You’ve transitioned your career from academic libraries to museum archives, was that hard to do?
Rosa: I feel like I got lucky with my transition. I was hired at the Barona Cultural Center & Museum because I had a background in BOTH archival studies and public libraries. BCCM wanted a librarian/archivist who could do both. I have found that a lot of smaller museums are usually looking for someone who can wear many hats professionally. It was due to my experience at BCCM that I was able to get a job at the San Diego Museum of Man because of my experience working in a museum setting, but also because of my experience working with the Kumeyaay (native group in San Diego County).
Todd: What is your advice to those of us looking for work?
Rosa: Get as many skills as possible. If you have time, try to volunteer or intern at an institution that interests you, because you never know if something will come from that opportunity. Also, try and get experience with skills where you are the weakest. Example, if you have never worked at a reference desk, try and see if you can shadow someone or do a few hours a week at a local library or historical society. This will help you pad your resume and open you up to new jobs that you might never have considered.
Todd: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Rosa: I get RSS feeds for the Records Management Roundtable through the Society of American Archivists (SAA), and the Registrars Committee through the American Association of Museums (RCAAM). If you are interested in transitioning over to the museum world, definitely start checking out some of the museum association websites and listservs.
Todd: What’s your favorite thing about libraries?
Rosa: I love libraries! I read about a book a week, so my favorite thing is all the money I save by being able to check out a book instead of buying one.
Todd: So you check out a lot of books but do you use eBook Readers?
Rosa: My husband recently bought me a Nook. I was always so against eBook readers because I felt like they went against everything I loved about libraries. But, I finally caved. I have to say, I love it! Not only is it convenient, but it also helps save paper. The hippie in me loves that.
Todd: Rosa, it’s great to catch up! Thanks for taking some time out for INALJ.